I'm writing a scientific/technical text which involves describing some low level code.

I need to complete the following sentence:

When two values are combined, their tags are _ _ _ _ _ _ together

Where the dashed line should be filled with a word specifying the tags have been combined using a bitwise OR operation (or AND operation).

I also need the word for the present tense.

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    If you don't understand the question or do not know the answer, that doesn't mean you down vote it or vote to close. You can still reverse your actions, though. – Kris Aug 27 '12 at 7:41
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    I have a feeling you could use a better sentence construction to begin with. Why not "the two values are combined using bitwise OR on their tags"? – Chan-Ho Suh Aug 27 '12 at 8:30
  • @WillHunting I addressed the subset that fits the criteria. There may be more. – Kris Aug 27 '12 at 11:28
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    The OED attests and and or used for the computer operation. Some people write them as ᴀɴᴅ and ᴏʀ to distinguish them in straight text. – tchrist Aug 27 '12 at 14:24
  • In other words, ᴀɴᴅ and ᴏʀ are words, and therefore, take past tense forms as well. – Kris Aug 27 '12 at 14:42


The most common form is like this, and you can drop bitwise if necessary in these examples:

When two values are combined, they are bitwise ORed together.

In the present tense:

Combine two values by bitwise ORing them.


Bitwise OR the two values.

Early citations

ORed and ANDed have been around for a long time in electronics and computing. The OED includes the verb OR, first documented in an IBM Technical Disclosure Bulletin of 1970:

The outputs of all the drill sense transistors 12 are Ored together by diode Or's 18 and fed to the base of relay control transistor 20.

However, I found an earlier example at MIT in AIM-024: Arithmetic in LISP 1.5 by Michael Levin (April 28th, 1961):

If there is a negative sign, it is OR-ed into the P bit.

The verb AND is older, first documented in US Patent 2,995,727 issued to IBM for a Means For Comparing Wave Shapes (filing date: Oct 29, 1957, issue date: Aug 8, 1961):

The output terminal 53–1a of the comparison circuit 40A is ‘anded’ with the output terminal 53–1 from comparison circuit 40 by means of ‘and’ gate 55–1.

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    I've sent the nine year antedating of verb OR to the OED. – Hugo Aug 28 '12 at 18:32

While words like ANDed and ORed are easily understood, the technical terms for bitwise AND and OR operations are bitwise conjunction and bitwise disjunction respectively.

When two values A and B are combined (i.e. ANDed), their tags are conjoined bitwise.

But the usage is not popular enough and stands the risk of not being understood by all.

  • That's interesting. I like it. Unfortunately it seems easy to confuse with logical and/or operations though. – aioobe Aug 27 '12 at 8:55
  • ...as opposed to the bitwise operations that I'm writing about. – aioobe Aug 27 '12 at 11:43
  • I have no clue about this subject, but did wonder if you could end your sentence with the word conjoined (delete "together"; it seems redundant to me). – JLG Aug 27 '12 at 13:48
  • @aioobe: It could be made to work for bitwise too. Just say, When two values A and B are combined (i.e. ANDed), their tags are conjoined bitwise. – Bravo Aug 27 '12 at 14:41
  • @Shyam- So, given your caveat, why suggest it to the OP? – Jim Aug 27 '12 at 15:01

When two values are combined, they are ORed together bitwise.


When two values are combined, they are bitwise ORed together.

Here is an example

'ORed' is the past tense- I ORed them together.

The present tense in simply 'OR'- You must OR the two values together to obtain the result

Also note that besides the bitwise operations, logical operations treat the values of each operand as two single true/false values.

  • Got a cite? Also, OP asks for past tense too :) – James Waldby - jwpat7 Aug 27 '12 at 7:26
  • Actually I think I meant to write present tense :) like oring – aioobe Aug 27 '12 at 7:43
  • @jwpat7 leaflabs.com/docs/lang/cpp/compoundbitwise.html for one. – Kris Aug 27 '12 at 7:44
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    I have to say that ORed and ANDed look and sound horrendous, and I've never once seen either used in technical writing. – Arkanon Aug 27 '12 at 11:32
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    I think it's too late ... it's already caught on. And people seem to spell the past tense ORed, which I guess makes sense if you rhyme 'or' with 'core', as most people do. – Peter Shor Aug 27 '12 at 17:43

Shyam is correct
(re the formal technical nomenclature )
(re the (very large) risk of the technical terminology not being understood).

ANDed and ORed may, perhaps, have never been formally defined as valid terms, but are both exceedingly time honoured and well understood by the target community. They can be used with confidence.

ANDed or ORed can be used in present and past tense (and variants thereof)

  • "A is ANDed with B" -> "A is being ANDed with B"

  • A was ANDed with B.

A Google search for

  • "ANDed" boolean
  • "ORED" boolean

returns around 250,000 hits in each case.
(Enclosing the search term in quotation marks tends to stop Google substituting words like ANDING for ANDed in the search results.)

Looking at the results 10 pages down (10 per page) shows that every result is directly relevant to the use of ANDed or ORed in this context. This is a very "solid" result and allows confidence in the widespread acceptance of the usage - on searches where the search string is less well related to the results, by the 100th result a significant proportion of answers are often unrelated to the search.

True - but just for fun.

A ORed with B is equal to NOT A NANDed with NOT B

A ANDed with B is equal to NOT A NORed with NOT B

[The purist might wish for brackets in the above, but the meaning is unambiguious without them.]


The negation of a conjunction is the disjunction of the negations.
The negation of a disjunction is the conjunction of the negations.

  • De Morgan's Theorems

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